How to Reschedule an Interview – With Sample Email

March 25, 2024

how to reschedule a job interview

How to Reschedule an Interview – An interview is an important (arguably the most important) aspect of a job application and hiring process (or college application process). Whether you are pursuing a position that requires face-to-face skills or are interested in a fully-online option, interviews allow employers to dig deeper into candidates’ qualifications, interests, and experience. They also allow job candidates to get a sense of a company’s culture and the specific parameters of the role for which they are applying. Indeed, a job interview is an opportunity for both you and your potential employer to explore the vague and elusive—albeit critical—component of “fit.” A candidate who looks excellent on paper may perform poorly during an interview. Likewise, one’s dream job may reveal itself to be anything but during the interview process.

In an ideal world, you’d never have to reschedule a job interview. Of course, we all live in the real world, and things come up. Stuff happens!

Is it a bad look to reschedule a job interview? Not necessarily. In fact, when handled appropriately, rescheduling an interview can present an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism.

In this article, we cover:

  • Legitimate Reasons to Reschedule an Interview
  • How to Reschedule an Interview
  • Email Template for Rescheduling an Interview
  • Additional Tips for Rescheduling an Interview

Valid Reasons for Rescheduling an Interview

First, remember that scheduling interviews in the first place takes time and effort. No matter how legitimate your reasons for rescheduling, it will likely cause an inconvenience for your prospective employer—particularly if it was challenging to find a workable time initially. Also, the more involved the interview and/or the greater the number of interviewers, the more of a hassle it is to reschedule. That is, a 15-minute phone interview with an individual manager is much simpler to reschedule than a 2-hour interview involving a sample presentation, office tour, and multiple interviewers. You should evaluate your reasons for rescheduling accordingly. Circumstances that are easily avoided with preparation and planning do not constitute legitimate reasons for rescheduling an interview.

Acceptable reasons include:


This is the most common reason for rescheduling an interview. While you might be tempted to “push through” in order to demonstrate your commitment, in actuality your interviewer is unlikely to be impressed by your willingness to risk infecting them. Rescheduling shows you are considerate of others. Moreover, you are not going to be at your best if you are feeling ill, meaning that the interview will be less productive and informative for all involved. For that reason, illness is a valid reason to reschedule telephone or virtual interviews as well, unless your symptoms are extremely mild (virtually unnoticeable) and unlikely to impact your performance.

How to Reschedule an Interview (Continued)

Personal or Family Emergency

Accidents and injuries happen, and if a potential employer isn’t understanding then you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. A job that doesn’t recognize your humanity will not be a happy one. Common emergencies include having a sick child, incurring an injury and needing time to recover, or needing to attend a funeral.

Transportation Issues or Inclement Weather

Everyone knows that the most likely time to get a flat tire or to find yourself stranded during a blizzard is when you are on your way to something extremely important. Similarly, even planning for contingencies (leaving early, securing alternate modes of transportation, etc.) won’t prevent you from experiencing canceled flights, undriveable roads, or flooded subways.

Technology Issues

If you are scheduled for a remote or telephone interview, obviously you should try to minimize any potential complications. If your home internet is unreliable, make other arrangements. If you will be using a friend’s laptop, do a trial run to make sure you know how to log on, share your screen, etc. However, as with other areas of life, stuff happens. The internet goes out. Computers die for no reason. You get the idea.

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Change in Work Schedule

If you are looking for a new job while working a current job, your schedule can change unexpectedly: a work trip gets extended, you are called in to cover for a sick colleague, etc. It’s typically not worth burning bridges at your current company, especially if you are not yet sharing that you may be leaving. Plus, showing your commitment to your current job demonstrates a level of trustworthiness and professionalism to a potential new employer.

In general, before rescheduling, you might ask yourself: Do I need to reschedule? And, in fact, there is sometimes a viable alternative. Let’s say your car won’t start, but you can take an Uber and will still make it in time. Do it! However, more often than not the more relevant question is: Would it be better if I rescheduled? Let’s say you’ve had car trouble on route, and might make it to the interview but will likely be late and frazzled. Do everyone a favor and reschedule.

How to Reschedule an Interview

Once you’ve determined that your reason for rescheduling is legitimate, and that there truly are no good or reasonable alternatives, you need to act promptly and decisively.

1) Contact the Hiring Manager Quickly and Appropriately.

  • If you realize more than 24 hours in advance that you need to reschedule, send an email (see a template below).
  • For day-of issues, call first and then follow-up with an email.
  • If you need to reschedule with less than 24 hour’s notice, but it is not during normal business hours (i.e. you wake up sick in the middle of the night but have a morning interview scheduled), email right away but follow-up with a call at a reasonable hour, especially if you don’t receive confirmation that your email was received.

2) Reiterate your Interest in the Job and Provide a Clear Reason for Rescheduling. Tone and directness are everything here. You want to be clear that you are looking to reschedule, not Stress that you are looking forward to the interview and appreciate the opportunity. In explaining why you need to reschedule, provide enough detail to demonstrate that your reason is legitimate, but do not over-explain. You are communicating with a potential employer, so keep it professional. The appropriate level of detail will vary depending on the reason you cite (see “Additional Tips” below).

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3) Be Flexible and Offer Alternatives. Be prepared when rescheduling with dates and times you will be available, or, if sick, a reasonable timeframe. Likewise, depending on your reasons for rescheduling, you can suggest alternatives. For example, perhaps your partner has tested positive for COVID but you are not yet showing symptoms. You might reach out to say that you don’t want to risk exposing others during an in-person interview, but if rescheduling is inconvenient, you would be happy to switch to an online format.

4) Apologize, but Don’t Overdo It. Express your regret for the inconvenience, but stay confident. Cite unfortunate circumstances rather than blaming yourself. If your reasons are legitimate, you’ll want to be courteous, but not give a hiring manager any reason to doubt your excuse.

5) Express Gratitude. Thank them in advance for their willingness to reschedule, and conclude your email or phone call with your excitement for the rescheduled interview.

Email Template for Rescheduling an Interview

You can use this template as a guide when reaching out to reschedule your interview. Remember that last-minute issues should be communicated via phone as well if possible.

Subject: Request to Reschedule Interview

Dear [Hiring Manager],

Thank you for the opportunity to interview at [Company Name]. I am looking forward to learning more about the position.

Unfortunately, I am no longer able to meet at [date/time] due to [brief explanation]. I apologize for the inconvenience, and am eager to reschedule at your earliest convenience.

I am available [dates/times]. Please let me know when would be best for you. [Expand if necessary.  For example: “If none of these times are convenient, I’d be happy to discuss other options.” Or, “Alternatively, I would be happy to switch from an in-person meeting to a Zoom call if that would be preferable to rescheduling.”]

Thank you in advance for your flexibility. I look forward to meeting with you soon.


[Your Name]

Once you receive a response, send another email to thank them for accommodating your request and to confirm the new date and time.

Additional Tips for Rescheduling an Interview

  • Do everything possible to avoid rescheduling more than once. Once is understandable. Twice makes you seem flaky.
  • Proofread your email before sending. If calling, work out a basic script in advance.
  • If your reasons for rescheduling are…less legitimate/the result of a mistake, don’t lie. Instead, simply don’t offer any details. For example: “Unfortunately, I am no longer available to meet at [date/time]. I would be grateful if we could reschedule. I am available [dates/times].” While not as respectful (or potentially beneficial) as offering a legitimate reason, this approach is preferable to admitting you overslept or risking being caught in a lie.

How to Reschedule an Interview (Continued)

  • Plan for contingencies and prepare for things to go wrong. Give yourself more than enough time to get to the interview location. Check traffic and weather in advance. Test drive all technology. Block off the interview time on your calendar to avoid double-booking.
  • Adjust the level of detail depending on the circumstances.
    • For example, you may wish to provide more detail if:
      • Your reason for rescheduling is related to your current job. In this case, offering a slightly longer explanation can communicate to a hiring manager that you are a dependable and responsible employee at your current company, which can potentially make you more attractive to a prospective employer.
      • Your reason for rescheduling is transportation- or technology-related. In this case, more detail can alleviate any suspicion that you are at fault due to poor planning or lack of resourcefulness. For instance, a flight cancellation paired with weather delays is truly out of your control, whereas citing “traffic” can suggest you didn’t prioritize the interview in the first place.

How to Reschedule an Interview (Continued)

    • Alternatively, it is typically advisable to offer less detail in cases of illness or a family emergency. You are communicating with a potential employer, not your physician or friend. This is not the time to show off your extroverted A hiring manager does not need a list of your symptoms (particularly if they are gross!). Citing “illness” will suffice. Likewise, they do not need to know all about your great-uncle, who he was, and how he died. Instead, simply state that you’ll be unable to attend due to a death in the family.
  • Regardless, do not offer more than a 1-2 sentence explanation when requesting to reschedule an interview. Focus most of your communication on your continued interest in the job and future availability.

In conclusion, needing to reschedule an interview isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it is up to you to salvage the situation and use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and communication skills. For further reading, you may wish to check out the following workplace-related blogs: